After Kawhi Leonard left Toronto to join the Clippers, the Celtics found themselves positioned to take the number three seed in the Eastern Conference.
Despite losing Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Aaron Baynes, and Marcus Morris, the team has managed to put together a solid roster.
Danny Ainge grabbed Kemba Walker off the free agent market from the snatches of the Charlotte Hornets and then went and signed Enes Kanter to fill the role of starting center for the C’s. The talent of the new additions doesn’t quite match that of last year’s, but, it puts Boston in a position to do some damage.
There’s only one problem. Actually, make that two.
Their names are Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
One is the reigning MVP. The other is a nearly unstoppable two-time All-Star.
As of right now, the Celtics don’t have anyone that can put a hold on either of those guys. Kanter was a nice bonus but his defense is still lackluster. Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown can tag team, but that means if another weapon on the 76ers or Bucks goes off, it’s game over. Walker is about half their size.
The hope currently lies with Semi Objeleye, Marcus Smart, and dare we say the Timelord himself, Robert Williams. It’s not ideal, however, NBA free agency isn’t over just yet.
Ian Thompson believes the key to their success lies in getting the right breaks. Note: there is no mention of another piece in his statement. It’s all or nothing with this team. It’ll obviously depend on the shape of Gordon Hayward.
Last season he was a shell of what he was in Utah. Despite the excessive early minutes that Brad Stevens allowed, he still couldn’t find his mojo. A big part of that has to do with the gruesome ankle injuried he suffered in 2017. Right about now, those excuses are no longer eligible. He needs to become the X-factor that sets the Celtics apart from the rest of the competition.
So, are the odds doing justice here? Or are they putting too much pressure on this brand new team?